Have you bought a music box for yourself? Or perhaps you received one as a gift? With proper care, music boxes can bring joy to you and generations of your family. Like other musical instruments, it can be tricky to look after music boxes. If you need tips on how to fix a music box or are looking for advice on cleaning and maintaining your music box, you’ve come to the right place!
At Music Box Attic, we know that music boxes can feel very special. You might be intimidated by the thought of handling or fiddling with your precious gift. But don’t fear. Music box maintenance can be easy, fun, and hassle-free. There are only four things you should consider when maintaining your music box:
- General care
- General cleaning
- Movement cleaning
Below, we’ll go over how to clean and care for your music box so you can keep it in tip-top shape for years to come.
General Care of Your Music Box
Music Box Attic’s products are high quality and made to last. But even the best-made music boxes benefit from general care, regular cleaning, and knowing how to fix a music box. To help your music box look and function at its best, follow the general care tips below:
- Store your music box in a cool, dry environment. Heat, direct sun, and moisture can damage your instrument.
- Remember to wind and play the music periodically. If it sits idle for too long, it could create issues. Note: Not all music boxes have a winding feature.
- Even more importantly, after winding it allow it to wind down. Do not fully wind the box and close the lid right away. It is a bad idea to have the movement under a lot of pressure, so let it play out a bit after you wind it.
- You should not touch the movement components. The only part of the movement designed to be moved manually is the winding key.
- If your music box has a winding key, be careful when winding the movement. Never force it to turn. If it doesn’t turn smoothly, it could mean a repair is needed.
- Keep the box’s lid closed when not in use to limit exposure to dust and other elements.
Now that you are an expert on general care, let’s discuss how to clean a music box.
Cleaning Your Music Box
There are essentially two parts to the cleaning stage of music box maintenance. Part one involves cleaning the non-mechanical components, like the wood and porcelain exteriors, or the fabric and felt interiors. Part two involves cleaning the mechanical parts. This process is also called lubrication, which we’ll cover next.
If you’re wondering how to clean a music box, we recommend starting out by using warm water, a dry, soft towel, and dish soap. Stay away from hot water as it could damage the components and the box. A light touch with a clean, damp towel is best. Don’t ever submerge your music box in water or clean it in a dishwasher.
If your music box includes painted design elements, gently wash the painted areas and be mindful not to use pressure. Applying force can cause these elements to scrub and deteriorate.
For felt and fabric elements, like the inside of a jewelry box, do not use dish soap. Instead, gently clean with a soft cloth and warm water when needed. Allow to dry by keeping the lid open or use an air compressor to dry quicker. You can also use a compressed air duster can to clean out dust from the inside.
After you’ve cleaned the interior and exterior of your music box, it’s time to clean its moving parts.
Cleaning the Movement Components
General care and regular cleaning of non-mechanical parts will give your music box a long, healthy life. However, dust and particles may find their way into the mechanical movement over time.
If you feel uneasy about cleaning the mechanical components, ask a mechanical-minded friend to help you out, or watch our troubleshooting videos to see how an expert handles the movement. Remember ⏤ music box maintenance should be fun and relaxing, not stressful!
If you still feel overwhelmed, call an expert that specializes in how to fix music boxes and cleaning.
You can reach out to mechanical watch experts to get help with your music box. Mechanical music boxes work similarly to mechanical watches, so these specialists can help.
If you feel confident about how to clean music box movements and want to do it yourself, you’ll need latex gloves and an aerosol cleaner. The best aerosol cleaners combine non-oil lubricant, cleaner, and protection. Your local hardware store or hobby store are good resources.
After safely taking the mechanical instrument out of the music box, gently use the aerosol cleaner to push dust and dirt off the instrument. Get regular oil lubricant and gently lubricate all gears of the movement. Do not lubricate the cylinder or comb of the movement, only the gears and the fly wheel.
How to Fix a Music Box
With good general care and regular, careful cleaning, you will be able to enjoy your music box for a very long time. Music Box Attic products are premium quality and made to last. However, mistakes happen even with the best care plan and regular music box maintenance. This is where you will need music box repair.
Repairing a music box can be a pretty advanced do-it-yourself project. To start you off, check out our how-to videos to see if your problem is already covered. If you can’t find your issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to discuss a repair strategy to help you restore your cherished keepsake. Although we don’t do major repairs, we will help direct you to someone who does at the time.
Keep Your Music Box in Top Shape With MBA
Keeping your music box in good shape is not as hard as you think. With proper cleaning and maintenance, a good quality music box can last for decades. If you need advice with how to clean and how to fix your music box, get in touch with us.